Towards a Refugee Policy for an Inclusive Hong Kong: Enhancing the Status of China's International City

Project: Research project

Project Details


Under some duress, the Hong Kong SAR Government (HKSARG) has adopted a Unified Screening Mechanism (USM) for refugees. While this is an important step forward, criticism of the Administration’s handling of refugee issues continues (Legislative Council Secretariat, 2014). Internationally, Aljazeera (Banu, 2014) proclaimed “Hong Kong’s refugee shame” and argued that “Hong Kong must update its refugee policy to match its growing image as an international city”. This proposal has been developed to address these issues. There are three key concerns related to the issue of refugees: 1. The reasons for refugees leaving their homes to come to Hong Kong have rarely been examined. Refugee issues are more often canvassed in emotional terms related to Hong Kong’s failure to sign the UN Convention on Refugees. Thus the current ‘policy’ debate rarely comes to grip with key issues. 2. At a different level, little is known about the everyday living experiences of refugees in Hong Kong. This has given rise to statements in the Legislative Council that “claimants (are) engaging in illegal employment and criminal activities during their stay in Hong Kong”. These claims need to be investigated. 3. Part of the experience of refugees is related to their families, and in particular accompanying children. There is little information in the public domain on the topic. Yet Hong Kong is signatory to international covenants about the rights of children and has a domestic obligation for compulsory educational provision. The issue requires clarification. The current research will explore these issues based on an understanding of the Administration’s legal responsibilities, the current contexts in which refugee migration takes place, the needs of Hong Kong in a globalized world order, the needs of refugees, and the necessity for an internationally acceptable solution. As has been argued, refugee policy is about “self-image” and it is Hong Kong’s image that this project seeks to enhance. The research will be conducted in two-stages. The first stage will involve document analysis and interviews with key policy makers, non-government agencies and school professionals. The second stage will include case studies of refugees and asylum seekers. The case studies based on in-depth interviews and observations will provide data for policy development. In-depth interviews with officials from government bureaus and NGOs will provide understandings on different refugee issues. In-depth interviews with school professionals as well as the case studies with some refugees will help explore the educational provision for refugee children.

Funding Source: HKSAR Govt - Others^
Effective start/end date01/08/1531/08/16


  • refugees, policy, multiculturalism


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